Monday, April 27, 2009

Garibaldi Névé Traverse

The first thing I put on this blog last year was a report from Paul, Dan, and I skiing the Garibaldi Névé Traverse. This weekend, Paul, Angie, Kala, Lina, and I set out to do the same thing... backwards. Starting at the north end, hiking up the endless switchbacks and then skiing over the icefields to Elfin Lakes. We hoped this would solve the dilemma of "which way is best". 

In short, it didn't.

We had a great evening of cooking, eating, and watching the sunset at Garabaldi Lake... then a very cold night out in tents. Well, Kala squeezed into the very full cabin and had a warmer night, but maybe not much more sleep what with all the being trodden on and woken up by the alpine-starters at 4am. Paul and Angie headed back across the lake and down to the car, whilst Kala, Lina and I set off to answer the ultimate question. North to South, or South to North?

The climb up onto the icefield was roasting hot and hard... but the traverse across the top and ski down were really great in the sunshine. As we left the glacier behind us the clouds came in and it started snowing. Phew. A quick lunch stop in the Elfin lakes cabin and then a slog along Paul Ridge put us at the Red Heather shelter and the sometimes sketchy ski down the road to the car. Pleasant surprise... the ski down was great! 

So, our conclusion is that the traverse shouldn't be a traverse at all. Forget all that skiing across the lake and those switchbacks. Ski in from the Red Heather end... go up on the icefield... maybe go to the lake, maybe camp up there... and then come down the same way. Next year we'll give that a try and let you know how it works.

Paul has photos of Friday's Critical Mass ride and the Neve (stage 1) here. There are more of Lina's photos here.

Beginning, at the beginning.

Camp at Garabaldi Lake.

Kitchen construction.

Sunset on the lake.

The climb to the icefields.

Dark skies looming as we descend.

The end. The ultimate question remains unanswered.... until next year.